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Chow Chow

Independent and dignified, the Chow usually attaches himself to one person even though he will have affection for the whole family.

Overall Status

Height 17 to 20 inches
Temperament Dignified, Bright, Serious-Minded
Weight 40 to 70 pounds
Life Expectancy 12 to 15 years
Coat Color Black, Blue, Brown, Cinnamon, Red
Barking Level Frequent

Quick Factors

Dog Friendly
Exercise Need
Grooming Needs
Strangers Friendly
Family Affectionate
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Daily Care

Grooming Tips

The Chow comes in two coat types: rough and smooth. Both have an undercoat and a top coat. The rough has an abundant coat that stands off from the body. The head is framed by a profuse ruff, and the tail is plumed. The legs have to feather as well. The smooth does not have the abundance of top coat that characterizes the rough, and he lacks a ruff and feathering on the tail and legs. In all other respects, the coats are the same.

Grooming requirements depend on the type of coat. A smooth coated Chow needs brushing only weekly. One with a rough coat should be brushed every other day. Both varieties shed heavily twice a year, during which time the coat will come out in handfuls. A bath is rarely necessary, although a warm bath followed by a very thorough blow-drying can help remove that shedding coat.

Check the ears on a weekly basis for signs of infection, irritation, or wax build up. Cleanse regularly with a veterinarian-approved cleanser and cotton ball. Brush the teeth at least once per week to prevent tartar buildup and fight gum disease. Additionally, nails should be trimmed once per month if the dog does not wear down the toenails naturally.

Exercise Tips

Chow Chows are not a high-energy dog, but they do need regular exercise not only to stay physically fitbut also to have something to do every day. This is a thoughtful breed and without a regular activity and a way to expend energy, they can bored and mischievous, evendestructive. Also, Chow Chows enjoy cool weather and may even romp in the snow. A moderate walk most days (very early or very late if warm weather) and a 20-minute play session once or twice a week.

With this said, ChowChow puppies should not be given too much exercise because their joints and bones are still growing and too much pressure on them could result in causing a dog a few problems later on in their lives. They should not be allowed to jump up or off furniture nor should they be allowed to run up and down the stairs because this puts too much pressure on their still growing joints and limbs.

  • Casual, moderate-length (20- 30 minutes) walks

  • Casual play in the yard – a game of Catch orHide and Seek, Chase, etc

  • Play in the snow

  • Casualhike

  • Obedience training sessions

Feeding Tips

Considering the medium stature of Chow Chows, they still don’t have to eat a whole lot, even if they appear to want to. Remember that a dog of this size will require a comparatively small diet – in other words, don’t always try to feed it human meals. Nutritious, whole foods are a must-have for just about any dog, including healthy and lean meats.

If you get a Samoyed puppy from a breeder, they would give you a feeding schedule and it's important to stick to the same routine, feeding the same puppy food to avoid any tummy upsets. You can change a puppy's diet, but this needs to be done very gradually always making sure they don't develop any digestive upsets and if they do, it's best to put them back on their original diet and to discuss things with the vet before attempting to change it again.

Older dogs are not known to be fussy or finicky eaters, but this does not mean you can feed them a lower quality diet. It's best to feed a mature dog twice a day, once in the morning and then again in the evening, making sure it's good quality food that meets all their nutritional requirements. It's also important that dogs be given the right amount of exercise so they burn off any excess calories or they might gain too much weight which can lead to all sorts of health issues. Obesity can shorten a dog's life by several years so it's important to keep an eye on their waistline from the word go.

Learn about which human foods are safe for dogs, and which are not. Check with your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s weight or diet. Clean, fresh water should be available at all times. Like many large breeds, Saint Bernard can experience bloat, a life-threatening condition where the stomach distends and twists. The causes of bloat aren’t fully understood, but experts agree that multiple, small meals per day and preventing vigorous exercise around mealtimes may help reduce the chances of it happening.

Health Tips

Chow Chows have a life expectancy of 10 to 15 years. Breed health concerns may includehip dysplasiaand elbow dysplasia, patellar luxation, thyroid disease and ocular disorders such asentropionandectropion.


Earlysocializationandpuppy training classesare recommended and help to ensure that the Chow grows into a well-adjusted, well-mannered companion. Patience and positive, consistent reinforcement are the keys to successful training. The Chow Chow is a very intelligent dog but can be stubborn. Harsh training methods are to be avoided in order to develop a trusting relationship. Patience, praise, and regular practice are the best tools to use with your Chow.

Puppies should be properly socialized to develop the amiable, outgoing personality that is characteristic of the breed. They’re successful in performance and companion events such as earthdog, barn hunt, obedience, and agility.


The Chow Chow, among the world’s most singular and possibly oldest breeds, is depicted in artifacts of China’s Han Dynasty (c. 206 b.c.), but evidence suggests Chows go back much further and are progenitors of other spitz-type breeds—from the burly Norwegian Elkhound to the dainty Pomeranian.

Chows have played many roles during their long history. At times, they were the lordly companions to Chinese nobles. An emperor of the Tang Dynasty, circa eighth century, was said to have owned a kennel facility that housed some 5,000 Chows and a permanent staff of twice that number. But over the centuries they also earned their keep as guarders, haulers, and hunters. Their ancestors were even a food source in the distant past of their densely populated, protein-starved homeland. An ancient breed nickname is the Edible Dog, and theory behind the origin of the name Chow maintains that it derives from the Cantonese word for “edible.”

The name “Chow Chow” is derived from pidgin-English slang used by sea captains to describe the contents of cargo crates full of miscellaneous Chinese goods. These oriental dogs became popular during the Victorian era in England and first appeared in the United States in 1890. Today, the Chow Chow is primarily a family companion and guard dog.

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